Do you slave away in your front yard during the summer, pruning every bush and painstakingly manicuring every blade of grass three times a week? If you are deeply in love with your landscaping, then you are probably a little dismayed when winter rolls around.
Winter officially begins on December 21, but it’s best to begin planning for the cold weather while it’s still warm outside. If you take the proper measures, you can protect your lawn from the elements and shield your plants until the spring.
Salts and Oil Sprays
Salt is a common remedy for melting ice on driveways and sidewalks after a hard freeze. However, if salt falls anywhere near plants and shrubs, it can seriously damage the roots.
When you’re applying salt to your walkways and driveway, use it carefully and stay away from nearby plants and shrubs. If your plants exhibit yellow or brownish tones come spring, salt may be the culprit. Opt for sawdust or sand to melt ice instead to sidestep this potential catastrophe.
Deciduous shrubs and trees are susceptible to mites and other overwintering critters. Using a miscible oil spray during the colder months is a great way to protect your plants from such insects. Only apply miscible oil spray when temperatures are over 40 degrees F., and never spray the oil within a 24-hour window of a deep freeze.
Pruning during the Winter Months
Many people believe that plants don’t need pruning during the winter, but this is not entirely true. Some plants must be pruned during the colder months so they bloom when spring arrives. If you have summer-flowering bushes such as hydrangeas or hibiscus flowers, they still need intermittent pruning during the winter.
Leave deciduous trees alone for the majority of the winter months, but remember they will need a little TLC as the seasons change. Remove deadwood from the trunks to encourage growth and protect your trees against deadly fungal diseases.
Protecting New Plant Growth
Late winter is the best time to plant new flowers and add to your existing landscaping. In most areas, the month is mild enough to support plant growth. Take care to select the right flowers, however. Good choices are snapdragons, petunias, or other flowers called “annuals” that start their life cycle in cooler months.
The trick is to plant the annuals in highly enriched soil. Ensure there is adequate room for drainage to keep the flowers protected from overwatering. Also, pat on an extra layer of mulch to protect your flowers from the elements until spring arrives, and stake new plants to keep them shielded from wind damage.
It’s also wise to check your sprinkler system often during the winter season. Cold weather can wreak havoc on water lines, so it is vital to run your sprinklers and check each sprinkler head for proper water output.
If you take a few simple steps to protect your landscaping during the winter, your yard will be healthy, happy, and ready to bloom when spring finally rolls around.